EXAMINING THE LITERARY HERD
It’s curious that those who exhibit the most hostility toward the ULA aren’t the various establishment lit groups’ leaders, like Dave Eggers and Blake Butler, but the followers—those who latch onto an Eggers or Butler or Tom Bissell, then follow them blindly. A Ron Hogan or Glenn Kenny, for instance, can’t interact with the ULA except behind a stream of insults. They see red inside their minds the instant they see my or the ULA’s name.
Why is this? It has to do with the herd mentality. These are the less intelligent, less open-minded members of the herd. They’re incapable of divorcing themselves from the herd mindset. Logic and reason hold no sway with them—their verdict has already been decided. They’re securely within the literary grouping where they best feel intellectually safe. They’ve convinced themselves that theirs is the “best”—and only—style of writing. That there could exist alternate viewpoints to theirs or their leaders is incomprehensible to them, and unsettling. Their first instinct is to wipe such notion from their minds. Such possibilities can’t be tolerated within the herd mind.
As a renewed Underground Literary Alliance works to create a new American literature, and to redirect the current literary scene from an elitist to a populist viewpoint, these hard-core followers will be the ones left behind; beyond reaching, clutching to their well-indoctrinated belief in “literary” writing which keeps them from that which troubles them most: having to think.